An opinion poll, initiated by the Office of the Public Administration Reform Coordinator – PARCO in the period from 22 July to 6 August 2006, indicated specific attitudes of the citizens in relation to the public administration reform. The aim was to incorporate the results of the opinion poll on existing public administration into the Action Plan of the PAR Strategy, contributing to the practical approach to drafting of the Strategy, considering the needs of citizens.
The most important conclusions were used in putting together the concrete measures and activities within the Action Plan.
The following observations were noted:
The citizens were of an opinion that problem-solving was not systematic, but rather depending on discretion of civil servants, who generally do not understand that they are the service of the citizens, and not vice versa. The common impression is that too many things depend on the will of individuals from the public administration. The examinees stressed that problems were complicated bureaucracy and slowness of the administration apparatus, overlapping of responsibilities and complex procedures for issuing documentation, particularly for businesses.
Furthermore, public participation in the decision-making process, e.g. performance assessment of the public administration bodies, indicates that the public awareness is still very low. Citizens feel that taking part in public discussions, i.e. different administrative commissions, does not contribute to the better understanding between the administration and the citizens, but actually closes the "magic circle" of mistrust among administration bodies and citizens.
Still, the conclusion of the majority was that certain advancement in the area of administration was evident, however, insufficient and slow. According to the examinees, this is the result of uncoordinated implementation of different activities, without a common, systematic approach to a Reform, coordinated by the State. Therefore, it is expected that the Public Administration Reform Strategy will contribute to the momentum of change.
Specific proposals of the measures for public administration reform include ‘modernization’ and ‘informatization’ of the administration, and discussion participants offered a number of suggestions. Improvement of the public administration’s professionalism was indicated as a priority, as well as the limitation of political interference in and obstruction of the work of administration.
Moreover, skepticism and hesitation towards international community involvement is also evident, especially in civil servants. PAR has been considered a long-lasting process which significantly depends on political will "at home". In a majority of previous cases, efforts of the international community have been limited by the lack of essential support from the local stakeholders.
It is important to emphasize that public administration, apart from the civil service, also comprises the education sector, health sector, etc. what additionally complicates this complex issue. Therefore, the reform will take time, as a process that has to be deeply ingrained in a local practice.
Civil servants complained that our country often applies solutions from Anglo Saxon practice, without adapting them to the local system. However, the need for modernization is indubitable as a precondition for the country’s progress.
The Office of the Coordinator for Public Administration Reform has initiated this project in order to encourage participation of the public in the reform process, as their opinions are the basic parameters and benchmarks of the efficiency of any program.